If 36 blocks aren't enough for you though, there is a solution... Naef Spiele also has available a version of the Mosaik puzzle that comes with an incredible 100 blocks. I can only imagine how long it takes to build a pattern with this number of blocks - probably about half an hour, as I need about 10 minutes or so to build one with my 36 block version.
(Click to Enlarge)
Naef Spiele is a Swiss company that carries a wide range of toys and puzzles, crafted with high-level quality and great design features. One of their products, the Mosaik, is a great example of such excellence. It's a Pattern Puzzle designed by Kathrin Kiener and there's no particular goal. Depending on your creativity, you can create thousands of colorful designs and patterns with the colored blocks.
As obviously suggested by its name, the puzzle has an outstanding array of colors distributed in three different mosaic blocks. Each cube has four different colors - four of its faces have a single color and the other two opposite faces have two colors tones separated diagonally, from the existing four colors. So, in total, there are 18 different color arrangements in 36 blocks placed in a 6x6 grid. Definitely a lot of room for creativity here.
(Click to Enlarge) - Left: All 18 color arrangements inside the tray
Each wooden block measure 2.5cm in length (about 1"), with the colors carefully applied and the tray, with a stylish black finish measures 17cm (6.70"). Worth noting are the cut tolerances in each block. They are so well crafted that they fit perfectly side by side inside the tray. You only notice the block edges because of the color difference between them. Now, as you would expect from colored wooden blocks, there are a few noticeable tiny blemishes here and there, but nothing that will ruin the overall look of a finished pattern.
If you ever played with a pattern puzzle like this, you know that it's possible to build all kinds of designs with the blocks. Most puzzles have various shapes printed on a single block, sometimes one for each face. With the Mosaik, it's not like that, as you only have two possibilities. You either have a two-toned diagonally pattern or a single colored face. However, while it lacks from shape variety, it most certainly compensates with a rainbow of colors.
Building a pattern is a joy and extremely fun. There are so much color possibilities that even thinking of a new pattern is a challenge in itself. Most of the times, I'd start with just a four block combination and then would continue from there, depending on how I felt the pattern was looking out.
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Naef Spiele has a few more pattern puzzles like this as well, also with very interesting designs: The Ikamo, with round patterns in red, blue, green and yellow; The Imago, which allows you to create beautiful optical-illusion patterns and finally, The Versi, with straight line patterns, in black and white colors only.
In my collection, I have a couple of puzzles like the Mosaik, although they're much smaller and come in a 3x3 grid. However, I feel like the Mosaik is a totally different puzzle. Its quality is superb and unmatched, which is expected from a Swiss made product, not to mention the mesmerizing patterns one can create out of the colorful blocks. Although the puzzle is not exactly what you would call a tough challenge, even though that's not what it's supposed to be in the first place, it does heighten your sense of creativity. I guess a big part of me always liked to play with blocks, so maybe that's why I enjoyed this puzzle so much. Not bad for 36 colored blocks...